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Economy

GM cuts jobs in response to present costs, future innovation

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GM cuts jobs in response to present costs future innovation

DETROIT (AP) — Even though unemployment is low, the economy is growing and U.S. auto sales are near historic highs, General Motors is cutting thousands of jobs in a major restructuring aimed at generating cash to spend on innovation.

It’s the new reality for automakers that are faced with the present cost of designing gas-powered cars and trucks that appeal to buyers now while at the same time preparing for a future world of electric and autonomous vehicles.

GM announced Monday that it will cut as many as 14,000 workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it abandons many of its car models and restructures to focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles.

CEO Mary Barra said as cars and trucks become more complex, GM will need more computer coders but fewer engineers who work on internal combustion engines.

“The vehicle has become much more software-oriented” with millions of lines of code, she said. “We still need many technical resources in the company.”

The reductions could amount to as much as 8 percent of GM’s global workforce of 180,000 employees.

The restructuring also reflects changing North American auto markets as manufacturers continue to shift away from cars toward SUVs and trucks. In October, almost 65 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. were trucks or SUVs. That figure was about 50 percent cars just five years ago.

GM is shedding cars largely because it doesn’t make money on them, Citi analyst Itay Michaeli wrote in a note to investors.

“We estimate sedans operate at a significant loss, hence the need for classic restructuring,” he wrote.

The reduction includes about 8,000 white-collar employees, or 15 percent of GM’s North American white-collar workforce. Some will take buyouts while others will be laid off.

At the factories, around 3,300 blue-collar workers could lose jobs in the U.S. and another 2,600 in Canada, but some U.S. workers could transfer to truck or SUV factories that are increasing production. The cuts mark GM’s first major downsizing since shedding thousands of jobs in the Great Recession.

The company also said it will stop operating two additional factories outside North America by the end of next year.

The move to make GM get leaner before the next downturn likely will be followed by Ford Motor Co., which also has struggled to keep one foot in the present and another in an ambiguous future of new mobility. Ford has been slower to react, but says it will lay off an unspecified number of white-collar workers as it exits much of the car market in favor of trucks and SUVs, some of them powered by batteries.

The GM layoffs come amid the backdrop of a trade wars between the U.S., China and Europe that likely will lead to higher prices for imported vehicles and those exported from the U.S. Barra said the company faces challenges from tariffs but she did not directly link the layoffs to them.

GM doesn’t foresee an economic downturn and is making the cuts “to get in front of it while the company is strong and while the economy is strong,” Barra told reporters.

Factories that could be closed include assembly plants in Detroit and Oshawa, Ontario, and Lordstown, Ohio, as well as transmission plants in Warren, Michigan, and near Baltimore.

The announcement worried GM workers who could lose their jobs.

“I don’t know how I’m going to feed my family,” Matt Smith, a worker at the Ontario factory, said Monday outside the plant’s south gate, where workers blocked trucks from entering or leaving. “It’s hard. It’s horrible.” Smith’s wife also works at the plant. The couple has an 11-month-old at home.

Workers at the Ontario plant walked off the job Monday but were expected to return Tuesday.

After the morning announcement, Barra headed for Washington to speak with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow in what was described as a previously scheduled meeting.

President Donald Trump, who has made bringing back auto jobs a big part of his appeal to Ohio and other Great Lakes states that are crucial to his re-election, said his administration and lawmakers are exerting “a lot of pressure” on GM.

Trump said he was being tough on Barra, telling the company that the U.S. has done a lot for GM and that if its cars aren’t selling, the company needs to produce ones that will.

At a rally near GM’s Lordstown, Ohio, plant last summer, Trump told people not to sell their homes because the jobs are “all coming back.”

Most of the factories to be affected by GM’s restructuring build cars that will not be sold in the U.S. after next year. They could close or they could get different vehicles to build. Their futures will be part of contract talks with the United Auto Workers union next year.

The Detroit-based union has already condemned GM’s actions and threatened to fight them “through every legal, contractual and collective bargaining avenue open to our membership.”

Bobbi Marsh, who has worked assembling the Chevrolet Cruze compact car at the Ohio plant since 2008, said she can’t understand why the factory might close given the strong economy.

“I can’t believe our president would allow this to happen,” she said Monday. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said the move will be disastrous for the region around Youngstown, Ohio, east of Cleveland, where GM is one of the area’s few remaining industrial anchors.

“GM received record tax breaks as a result of the GOP’s tax bill last year, and has eliminated jobs instead of using that tax windfall to invest in American workers,” he said in a statement.

GM, the nation’s largest automaker, will stop producing cars and transmissions at the plants through 2019. In all, six car models were scrapped, leaving the company with nine remaining car models for its four brands, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC.

Among the cars that won’t be made after next year is the Chevrolet Volt rechargeable gas-electric hybrid. When introduced a decade ago, the Volt was meant to be a bridge to fully electric cars, the company said. It has a small battery that can take it about 50 miles, then it switches to a small gasoline engine.

But since it was introduced, battery technology has improved dramatically, GM said. Now the full-electric Chevrolet Bolt can go up to 238 miles on a single charge.

The United Auto Workers promised to fight any plant closures and criticized GM for cutting U.S. jobs while building full-size pickups in Mexico. It also recently announced that a new Chevrolet Blazer SUV will be built there. Also, GM imports the Buick Envision midsize SUV from China.

___

Associated Press writers Rob Gillies in Toronto, John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio, and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.

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Conservatism

It’s been nearly two years since Capitol Hill told us they’d address the national debt in a year

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Its been nearly two years since Capitol Hill told us theyd address the national debt in a year

If there’s one thing that unites Democrats and Republicans in DC, it’s their unwillingness to tackle the national debt. During campaign season, both parties talk about it. They both point to the other’s policies and offer token solutions to address it, but these solutions never see the light of day. They always punt.

The GOP, when they had the House, Senate, and White House in their control, had decided to punt until next year. That was October, 2017. We’ve heard this line before. It’s always going to happen, just never in the current year. How many times will people allow them to say it without actually doing it?

We need to address the national debt immediately. That means dramatically cutting spending by eliminating programs, agencies, and even entire departments. By “eliminating,” that doesn’t mean make some cuts nor does it mean we move things around. To eliminate something means it needs to be abolished.

I’ll be called cold-hearted for suggesting such things. Is it hard to kill an agency that employs 50,000 people? Yes. Is it harsh to force those 50,000 Americans to seek other government jobs or hit the private sector? Yes. I wish it never came to this. I wish the expansion of Washington DC never happened in the first place, but it did and now it must be dealt with even if hundreds of thousands or even millions of Americans will be affected. That’s how precarious our situation is.

What about entitlements? Talking about cutting entitlements is the death knell for politicians. That’s why it never happens. They understand with 100% clarity that entitlements are unsustainable and grow harder to address with ever passing year, yet they punt. Why? Because they’re more concerned about retaining power than helping the nation.

What politicians only mention during campaign season is true year-round. The longer we wait to tackle the debt, the harder it’s going to be. Interest alone is killing us. We used to be able to say that if we don’t tackle it soon, future generations will be in deep trouble. Today, that phrase has been replaced:

If we don’t tackle the debt immediately, we’re dooming not just future generations but our own as well.

Every punt makes the problem harder to tackle. On top of real tax reform, we need to cut spending dramatically. It will hurt in the short term which is why every Congress is so afraid to do it. They know that spending cuts are unpopular come election time. Instead of perpetuating the unsustainable path we’re on, they need to take the bad news to the nation and educate the people on the imperative of tackling the debt immediately.

The problem isn’t really with the politicians, though. The bigger problem is with the voters. Most have no idea how bad the situation is. Trillions versus billions versus millions often doesn’t compute properly, and as long as the debt isn’t visible in their own lives, what difference does it really make? Others are aware of the problem but choose to ignore it because winning today is apparently more important that fixing such a huge problem and losing as a result.

We need a 30-year-plan for reducing the debt. Anyone who says it can’t take that long doesn’t realize it must take that long. The debt is too big to try to fit into a decade. Yet so few politicians talk about it.

This is just another reason we need the American Conservative Movement.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

Bernie’s insane disconnect from economic realities and the way Americans view them

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Bernies insane disconnect with economic realities and the way Americans view them

Senator Bernie Sanders is detached from reality. I didn’t realize it until today when I learned he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that a lot of people would be “delighted” to pay more in taxes if it meant free healthcare.

Here’s the full quote:

“Yeah, but I suspect that a lot of people in the country would be delighted to pay more in taxes if they had comprehensive health care as a human right. I live 50 miles away from the Canadian border. You go to the doctor any time you want. You don’t take out your wallet. You have heart surgery, you have a heart transplant and you come out of the hospital and it costs you nothing.”

Let’s break that down. Bear with me, as there’s a lot to cover.

First, no human alive, regardless of how they feel about government programs, is delighted when forced to pay more in taxes. Nobody gets their tax bill and says, “Oh, my lucky stars! I got to pay more taxes than I did before. This is wonderful! I’m delighted!”

Next, we get to the qualifying caveat, “if they had comprehensive health care as a human right.”

As caveats go, it’s one that can seem appealing on the surface. It has the two important phrases used by progressives across the board now: “comprehensive health care” and “human right.” There has been an indoctrination that has spread throughout a large portion of the population from progressives to moderates to conservatives. This indoctrination has made people believe they do not have comprehensive health care and it’s somehow their right to have it as a human.

Today, we have that right. Whether through the state, their employer, or paying as an individual, every American has access to comprehensive health care. It is too expensive for some, but again the state has inserted itself into the equation already with Obamacare. The horror stories of people losing their access to health care are overblown and oftentimes demonstrably false.

As far as it all being a right, that’s debatable. Many conservatives like to point out it’s a commodity and that emergency care is already guaranteed to everyone. But I do not believe that’s the right approach to argue against the current push for programs like Medicare-for-All. Those who choose to not pay for their health coverage and who refuse to go through the steps to get their health coverage given to them by the state are making a concerted effort to deny their own access to health insurance. It’s not something we go out and buy on a whim, so labeling it as a commodity is misleading. It is a commodity by definition, but as we try to win the narrative battle, ignoring the inherent differences between health coverage and gold or orange juice is a mistake.

Rather than view it as a right, it should be viewed as a privilege made available in varying degrees to every American, even those who cannot afford to pay for it. That just makes more sense in winning hearts and minds than calling it a commodity.

Now, we get to the juicy fallacies in the Senator’s argument. He lives close to Canada. Great! That means he likely gets to see Canadians in his neck of the woods coming to America to have procedures done. Why? Because of the demonstrably false claim that “you go to the doctor any time you want.” No, Senator. They don’t. They are extremely limited in when they can go to the doctor, how much time they can spend with their doctor, and what their doctor can offer them at that moment. They don’t have the same luxury we have of wanting to have procedures like elective knee surgery without being forced to suffer through the pain for months or years before they can get on the operating table.

That’s one reason so many from Canada, the United Kingdom, and other “single-payer utopias” are coming here. They don’t want to wait. The other reason is they’re learning the quality of care is deteriorating as it is wont to do whenever government pushes aside the free market to make everything they touch mediocre.

The last part is the one that would make most conservatives chuckle if we weren’t so worried about it becoming a reality. He said Americans would get all sorts of health care from checkups to major operations and it wouldn’t cost us anything. Actually, Senator, that’s not true. It would cost us everything.

What Bernie Sanders fails to realize is his plans would reduce quality of care, increase overall costs through taxation, and drive our problematic healthcare system to the edge of collapse. Then again, maybe he does realize this.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Economy

Exposed: Slave labor and torture in Communist China

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Exposed Slave labor and torture in Communist China

Diodes are important components of most electrical devices we use today. The demand for inexpensive and reliable diodes has made them a hot commodity in China. But were the diodes in our devices created through slave labor? A newly surfaced undercover video shows how this may be possible.

China is well known for using forced, low-wage, or even slave labor in order to produce the massive amounts of products they provide to the world. They have the manpower and the infrastructure but in order to keep their prices low enough to entice the world, they cannot pay a proper wage to those performing the manual labor to produce many things. Straightening diodes is one of the most tedious jobs necessary, making it a prime candidate for the Chinese to indulge in slave labor for their production.

Gina Shakespeare at The Epoch Times explored this new video and detailed how the Chinese government is engaged in slave labor to produce diodes for the world. It’s time to find new economic partners.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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